Can You Build a Barndominium in Wisconsin?

Barndominiums - also known as ‘Barndos’ - are converted barns that can be used as a living space, workspace, or just a place to relax and enjoy your favorite hobbies.

While some people do use them for agricultural purposes, many people simply love the way they look. 

These metal-structured buildings tend to be affordable, energy-efficient, and low maintenance, and are frequently built with energy-efficient windows, stained concrete floors, engineered concrete slabs, spray foam insulation, efficient plumbing, and romantic, high ceilings.

Location and Building Codes

Barndominiums are suited to rural areas rather than urban ones, as the latter is far more likely to have complex building codes. Therefore, Wisconsin is the perfect place for building a barndo thanks to its vast farmland and rural landscapes.

Depending on where you want to build your barndo, you’ll need to check the building codes and regulations, though generally speaking, the conundrum of is-it-a-barn-or-is-it-house matters less in rural areas where these kinds of structures are far more popular.

Regardless, it’s still important to check on zoning and building codes no matter what you plan on building, as these can differ depending on location.

Finding a Piece of Land

Regardless of where you want to build your barndominium in Wisconsin, you’ll need to find a plot of land to build it on, and this will require a separate loan outside of the cost of the build.

However, many agricultural banks can help you through this process, and there are a number of sites advertising land for sale. This shouldn’t be too difficult in a state such as Wisconsin.

One important thing to remember when looking for a plot of land is to check that it is zoned and regulated for residential use. You’ll also need to find a plot of land that can be hooked up to utilities such as electricity and plumbing, so remember to filter your search to find these specific requirements.

Choosing a Builder

Unless you have construction experience yourself, you’re likely going to want to find yourself a construction company to build your barndo.

Your number one priority when looking for a builder is experience - particularly when it comes to building barns and metal pole structures. Choose an experienced construction company that has a portfolio of similar construction projects under its belt, and has good reviews from previous clients.

Other Considerations

Wisconsin is characterized by a climate that experiences both extremes - with a record high of 114 degrees and a record low of -55 degrees. On average, winter lows range between 0 to 20 degrees depending on which side of the state you’re on, while summer highs are in the low 80s or upper 70s.

With this in mind, you need to ensure that your barndo is equipped to deal with Wisconsin’s blistering winters, as well as its warmer summers. You’ll need a high-quality barndo construction which has a solid structure to handle all kinds of weather. Quality is your number one priority here - avoid cheap options, as these will only cost you more in the long run.

The insulation material and its thickness are some of the most important considerations you will need to make - especially in a state such as Wisconsin. While you might end up spending a lot of money on insulation, this is certainly wise. You’ll be glad when those freezing winters come around, and besides, in the long run, you’ll save money, as premium insulation will pay for itself in terms of energy cost savings.

How much does it cost to build a Barndominium in Wisconsin?

The cost of building a barndominium in Wisconsin is far less than the cost of building a regular home.

On average, a barndominium costs about $100 to $115 per square foot to build, whereas a regular home works out at about $150 per square foot to build.

Therefore, building a barndo costs about ⅔ of the price of building a traditional home, and the spare cash you have left over can be spent on kitting your new space out with the necessary amenities and furniture, as well as choosing a decor that reflects you and your family’s personalities.

Another great thing about a barndo is that they take far less time to build. Most barndos can be put up in a matter of days thanks to their metal pole structure, and most of the time these come from prefabricated kits.

This makes the process a whole lot easier and far less stressful than building a regular home, and on top of the lower cost, the quicker construction period will also save you money on labor, meaning more money to spend on decorating your new space.

Factors that Will Influence the Price of Your Barndominium

  • The type or types of metal that you choose for your structure
  • The size of the structure and its cost per sq ft. Larger barndominiums are more expensive overall, but their cost per square foot is actually less.
  • The number of doors and windows your barndo will have
  • Finishing choices, decor, and other amenities
  • The type of roof and pitch of the roof
  • Insulation material and thickness
  • How you build the structure - ie. whether you order a prefabricated steel building kit and handle construction yourself, in full or in part. Or, the cost of hiring contractors for the entire build.
  • Different contractors charge different prices for kits, delivery, and construction - but remember to ensure you go for a company with good reviews as well as just an affordable price.

Final Say

Wisconsin is the perfect state for building a barndominium in, with its strong agricultural roots and masses of rural land.

It’s also extremely affordable, and the vastness of Wisconsin’s rural land means there’s plenty up for grabs.

A barndo is a great way to create a practical, cozy and sturdy space to live in which has the advantage of being easy and affordable to build, energy-efficient to live in, and of course, has a rustic charm that perfectly suits Wisconsin’s strong agricultural heritage.